April 23, 2017 – 2nd Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday

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April 23, 2017

2nd Sunday of Easter

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

“Receive the Holy Spirit.

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

 

It is one thing to doubt the fact that Jesus is risen, as Thomas did. We, however, are more likely to doubt the power flowing from that Resurrection, — a power that can keep us from sin. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, but mercy is not to be confused with presumption or permission to sin. In fact, it is precisely in giving us commandments that, as the second reading tells us, “are not burdensome,” that God shows his mercy. It is not simply our weakness that “God understands.” He understands, first of all, our need of him, and the fact that we flourish only by living a life in union with his will. Therefore, his mercy provides us with every ounce of strength we need to actually fulfill the commandments, which is the same as to fulfill the demands of love.

Love has concrete demands, beginning with a reverence and absolute respect for one another’s lives, and the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable in our midst. Actions that deliberately take innocent human life are always contrary to love. Yet “his commandments are not burdensome,” because by our faith in his Resurrection, we have the power to love as he loves, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves as he sacrificed himself.

Thomas found the strength to believe when he returned to the unity of the Church. Perhaps when Thomas was missing on Easter night, he was out looking for Jesus on his own. After all, he was the kind of person who wanted to see for himself. But he actually found Jesus only when he returned to be with Peter and the other apostles. We too will find the strength to believe, to carry out the commandments, and to respect every human life, when we maintain close unity with the Church, the community of believers built on the apostles.                       

                                    – Priests for Life

 

April 16, 2017 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

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April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

 

“Christians, praise the Paschal Victim!

Offer thankful sacrifice!

Christ the Lamb has saved the sheep,

Christ the just one paid the price, reconciling sinners to the Father”.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lord, As we gather together as family and friends

we invite you into our lives.

May the hope of Your Resurrection

fill our days.

May the promise of your spirit working in us

light up our lives.

May the love you revealed to us

shape our giving.

May the truth in Your Word

guide our journeys,

And may the joy of Your Kingdom

fill our homes.

We thank you for all the wonderful blessings

we now enjoy,

And celebrate Your Glorious Resurrection.

Thank you Lord.

Amen.

Food for Kidz Packaging Event May 4 2017

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We are once again hosting a packaging event for Food for Kidz.

When?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where?

The Crusader Civic Center in Lonsdale

What Time?

Two shifts:
4 – 5:30pm    &    5:30 – 7pm

No sign up needed!
Come when you can; leave when you need to!

We hope you are able to come! When you do, please bring your cash/check donation with you to cover the cost of food. If you are unable to come, please mail your tax-deductible donation to:

Food for Kidz
c/o Immaculate Conception Parish
PO Box 169
Lonsdale, MN  55046

Checks can be made payable to Food for Kidz

100% of the money raised is used to buy food!!

The mission of Food for Kidz is to package and distribute nutritious meals to hungry children and their families where crisis has struck and there is an immediate need. People like you, coming together with friends and family to package food, donate money and offer compassion MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Change has to start somewhere, and it’s often with the simplicity of a meal.

Please see the flyer for more details and pass on the word!

Sponsored by the Parish Pastoral Council

April 9, 2017 – Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

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April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

“Hosanna to the Son of David;

blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest”

 

 

The Cross

They brought him to the place of Golgotha (Place of the Skull). They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him.… It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. (Mark 15:22–23, 25).

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, and the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”] (Luke 23:33–34a)

So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.… When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each solider. (John 19:16b–18, 23a)

In the ancient world, there was no punishment more painful, terrifying, and dehumanizing than the cross.

It is not simply that Jesus died or even that he was put to death by corrupt people; it was that he endured the death reserved only for the lowest and most despised.

We are the inheritors of centuries of artwork and piety that present the cross as a moving religious symbol. We wear it as jewelry, and we hang it on the walls of our homes as a decoration.

But for the men and women of Jesus’ time, a person condemned to this manner of execution would be stripped, nailed or tied to a cross-bar fitted into a stake, and then left for hours, or in many cases days, to suffer the excruciating pain of very slowly asphyxiating while rocking up and down on wounded hands and feet in order to breathe.

The mocking of the crucified, which is frankly described in the Gospels, was part of the execution. When finally the tortured criminal died, his body was allowed to remain on the cross for days, permitting animals to pick over his remains. Jesus’ rapid burial was exceptional, a favor specially offered to Joseph of Arimathea, a high-ranking Jewish official.

To be sure, the Gospel proclaimed by the first Christians involves the glorious resurrection, but those initial evangelists never let their hearers forget that the one who had been raised was none other than the one who had been crucified.

So what exactly is happening on the cross? Why could God not simply have pronounced a word of forgiveness from heaven and dispensed with all of the blood and horror of the crucifixion?

The scriptural authors understand sin not so much as a series of acts, but as a condition in which we are stuck, something similar to an addiction or a contagious disease.

A mere word of forgiveness, uttered from the safety of heaven, would never have affected the needed transformation. No amount of merely human effort could possibly solve the problem.

Some power has to come from outside of us in order to clean up the mess; something awful has to be done on our behalf in order to offset the awfulness of sin. With this biblical realism in mind, we can begin to comprehend why the crucifixion of the Son of God was necessary.

Something had to be done—and God alone could do it. On that terrible cross, Jesus took upon himself the worst of humanity and swallowed it up in the ever greater divine mercy.

 

Jesus’s Passion and death are not the end;

they point to the joy of the Resurrection.

“By His wounds, we were healed” (Isaiah 53:5)

April 2, 2017 – 5th Sunday of Lent

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April 2, 2017

5th Sunday of Lent

“Lazarus, come out!”

And God Said “No”

I asked God to take away my pride, And God said “No.”

He said it was not for Him to take away, But for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said, “No.”

He said her spirit is eternal, While her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience, And God said, “No.”

He said patience is a by-product of tribulation. It isn’t granted – it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness, And God said “No.”

He said He gives blessings, Happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain, And God said “No.”

He said, “Suffering draws you apart from Worldly cares and brings you close to Me.”

I asked God to make my spirit grow, And God said “No.”

He said I must grow on my own, But he will prune me to make it fruitful.

I asked God if He loved me, And God said “Yes.”

He gave me His only Son, who died for me,

And I will be in heaven someday Because I believe.

I asked God to help me love others As much as He loves me,

And God said, “Ah, finally you have the idea.”

  -Claudia Minden Welsz

 

 

March 26, 2017 – 4th Sunday of Lent

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March 26, 2017

4th Sunday of Lent

 

“I came into this world for judgement, so that those who do not see might see…”

 

WHERE THE ARCHDIOCESE NOW STANDS

IN THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One year ago this month, Pope Francis bestowed on me the honor and responsibility of leading this Archdiocese. You may recall that it was a time of considerable uncertainty and unrest. We were trying to make sense of unspeakable harms that occurred over many decades. The abuse crisis had led to resignations, other personnel changes and legal challenges. There was a call for justice and a need for healing, reform and action.

Since arriving in our Archdiocese, I have come to know this local Church and many of you and I consider that a blessing. I want to take a few moments to offer some updates, seek your advice, and express my gratitude.

First, I can assure you that through consultation and purposeful corrective actions, and with an unwavering commitment to improve, we are together building a healthier, more responsive and more accountable local Church. Your prayers have undoubtedly been a huge part of that.

As you may recall, just over a year ago, the Archdiocese entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office relating to the protection of children. Since then, the Archdiocese has been periodically reporting on our progress in Ramsey County Court. Not only have we been found to have complied with the spirit and letter of the Agreement, but the Archdiocese has been commended for our cooperative work with the county attorney’s office  and others  to protect children.

Over the past few months, many of you have asked about our remaining legal challenge: bankruptcy. You want to know if the Archdiocese is doing everything it can to ensure that those who were harmed receive fair compensation. You have also asked how your parish and the entire local Church will survive this and continue with their missions.

I can assure you that our goal has been to provide fair compensation as soon as possible. We have liquidated possessions, sold buildings, collected other assets, and negotiated with insurance carriers. We have managed to gather more than $155 million, all with the hope of compensating claimants and finally bringing an end to the bankruptcy.

We know that those who have been harmed deserve justice sooner rather than later, and we realize that prolonged litigation works counter to our desire to maximize the amount available for victims because legal fees and costs, which are already substantial and grow the longer this goes on, reduce the proceeds available to victims. We also know how that the uncertainties of the ongoing litigation have made it difficult for many of our parishes and parishioners to stay focused on our mission. Please join me in praying that the matter might soon be brought to a resolution.

At the same time, I ask for your continued prayers for those who have suffered abuse. I can attest that many have suffered in silence for a long, long time. It may be someone sitting next to you at Mass, on the bus or a train, or at your family dining table. We want to create welcoming environments for those who have been harmed while embedding into our culture the changes necessary to create the safest possible environments for all.

If you know of a way that our Church could do more to help, please let me know. Reach out in whatever way is best for you. We want your advice. My contact information is at the bottom of this letter.

I thank you. We are, together, setting a new course. To be sure, we have much work ahead. But, through your efforts, this local Church is positioned to accomplish so many positive things and to continue the vital acts of service it performs every day. In taking stock of where we have been, where we are now and where we are headed, I am most grateful for our present opportunities. God willing  and with your help  we will continue moving toward a better future.

May God bless you and your families.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

777 Forest St. | St. Paul, MN 55106 | T: 651.291-4400 | F: 651.290.1629 | www.archspm.org | archbishop@archspm.org

March 19, 2017 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

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 March 19, 2017

3rd Sunday of Lent

 “…for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

 

Sacrament of the Sick: Don’t Wait till it’s Too Late!

By Fr. Dennis Thompson

A while back I anointed a man suffering from terminal cancer. Before I administered the Sacrament he said to me: “Father, I want the ultimate gift of healing. I want to be freed from this illness and to be with Jesus. Please tell my family to let me go and have them pray for my peaceful death; this is the healing I desire.” And so I anointed him: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who frees you, heal you, bring you peace, save you from your sins, and raise you up to Life everlasting, In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…Amen.”

The Sacrament of the Sick is an anointing for healing, forgiveness, and peace for individuals suffering body, mind, and soul from chronic and serious illnesses. It used to be called Extreme Unction (Last Rites), because it was the last Sacrament a Catholic received before checking out. This anointing is not the Sacrament of the last breath to push the dying into the gates heaven. Those who are dying are in the hands of God. It’s not just a priest that is needed then, but the prayers of those present; we all can do that as Christians for the dying.

It was the Second Vatican Council that returned the original meaning to this Sacrament by emphasizing that it is not only for those who are at the point of death, but for anyone who is seriously ill, including mental or spiritual illness. This Council also helped move the anointing away from a private bedside service and back toward a community-based prayer in the church for the sick.

I encourage IC parishioners who are suffering from a serious illness to be anointed after all Masses for healing next weekend. This Sacrament is for the sick and not a general anointing or blessing. I also invite the individual needing to be anointed to come any Sunday or weekday Mass with family and friends to receive this healing Sacrament of Jesus. After the Mass all present gather around the individual and lay our hands on the person for healing. We invite Jesus to be present to heal and forgive the person anointed. The grace and mercy of Jesus is present where two or three are gathered in his name. All Sacraments are communal by nature.

“Our mission as Church is to do what Jesus did. Throughout the Gospels we read of Jesus’ concern for the sick and suffering. Healing was also essential to the mission of the disciples: “Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two…. They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (see Mark 6:7-13).”

On the 4th Sunday of Lent, March 25-26,

the Anointing of the Sick

will be offered after all weekend Masses.

“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of priests the entire Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord, asking that he lighten their suffering and save them (see James 5:14-16); the Church exhorts them, moreover, to contribute to the welfare of the whole people of God by associating themselves freely with Christ’s passion and death (see Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:24; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Peter 4:13)” (Church, #11)The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

March 12, 2017 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

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March 12, 2017

2nd Sunday of Lent

 

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

 

 

FASTING AND ALMSGIVING IDEAS

 

  • Limit television or Internet use to only that which  helps build and strengthen your faith.

  • Give away one material item you value.
  • Fast from gossip
  • Do not use seasoning on food for some meals.
  • Observe five minutes of silence each day.
  • Save your candy in a jar until Easter.
  • Tell the truth in all your dealings.
  • Sacrifice one hour of time to help someone else.
  • Keep Sunday a day of rest by fasting from unnecessary work.

Cook a meal for a lonely or sick person.

  • Freely give smiles and compliments.
  • Regularly do random acts of kindness.
  • Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and donate the duplicates to the local food shelf.

  Talk to a neighbor you’ve rarely spoken to

.

  • Donate a nice item of your clothing to a clothing center.

  Do something that you see needs to be done without being asked.

 

 

March 5, 2017 – 1st Sunday of Lent

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March 5, 2017

1st Sunday of Lent

 

“The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve.”

 

CPR – The Breath of Life

The book of Genesis tells us God formed Adam’s body from the clay of the earth. The story also says that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils his own breath (Gen 2:7). There is something of God’s own life in us, something holy and precious that should renew our faith, hope, and love. God again wants to breathe his breath of life into each one of us. We all know what CPR can do to save life.

Lent is a time for God to perform CPR on us through our acts CONVERSION, PENANCE, and RENEWAL. This is a time to be alive in our faith! CPR will bring us back to Life. Lent is a time to celebrate our faith journey with all our heart, soul, and mind.  As a Catholic Church we are being called by our Lord to put into action what he has breathed into us. We are also called to give life!

Lent is a time for soul searching for each one of us to look at our spiritual health. We are being spiritually tested to see if we have a spiritual pulse and the breath of life. Are we truly living our faith or just surviving in our journey of life? When we finally get to the end of journey of life will we be D.O.A., spiritually dead on arrival?

God has breathed his own breath into each one of us, and he doesn’t intend that it be wasted! We are made for something more, something very special, and God will never stop trying to help that breath of life come alive within us. May we be found alive on arrival when are journey has ended. Let this be our prayer this Lenten season of CPR – Conversion, Penance and Renewal:

Most High Glorious God, you are the potter and I am the clay.

You have created me from the dust of your beautiful creation. Thank you for breathing the life of the Spirit of Christ upon me, the work of your hands. You have made me to be alive in Christ.

Through my Baptismal promise, I am called to be a new vessel for Christ, to take on his message and think and act in a new way- to be the light of Christ.

Lord, make me a vessel of your life and love. As that vessel, expand my heart, mind, and soul to know how you are calling me to generously serve you and your church in a greater capacity.

 Help me to be alive in Christ. Let me not shrink from my responsibilities or become closed and indifferent to your call.

 Help and challenge me to go against the tide of our culture and be your disciple by taking up my cross and following you. Lord, grant me new life in you!

I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

During this season of Lent, may we all rededicate our lives to serve God in all that we do. Let us enter into this holy season and be renewed in our faith life.

God Bless you all,

Fr. Dennis

February 26, 2017 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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February 26, 2017

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of it self.”

MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF

THE CHANCELLOR FOR CANONICAL AFFAIRS

 

February 22, 2017

 

To the clergy, consecrated women and men and lay faithful of the Archdiocese:

Soon we will be entering into the liturgical season of Lent. In these solemn forty days, we will look to the example of Christ who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during his forty days in the desert. In Pope Francis’ message for Lent this year, he reminds us that “Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His word, in the sacraments, and in our neighbor.” It is a penitential season that calls us to spiritual exercises, penitential acts, charitable works, fasting, and almsgiving.

The Church provides norms to help guide us in these practices, primarily in the areas of fasting and abstinence. In particular, Ash Wednesday (March 1, 2017) and Good Friday (April 14, 2017) are days of fasting. Fasting is obligatory for all between the ages of 18-59 who do not have a medical condition in which fasting may be considered harmful. Fasting is defined as limiting oneself to one full meal and two lighter meals, which together do not consist of a full meal.

Moreover, all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence in the United States. Abstinence is refraining from eating meat for the entire day. The obligation of abstinence is binding on all Catholics who have reached at least 14 years of age.

Pastors and parents are to see to it that their children, even when not bound by the law of fast and abstinence, are educated in an authentic sense of penance and are encouraged to do acts of penance suitable to their age. All members of the Christian faithful are encouraged to do acts of penance and charity during the Lenten season beyond what is prescribed by the law.

As a general rule, a request for a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence on Fridays of Lent will not be considered unless some serious reason is present. It has been noted, however, that Friday of the second week of Lent this year corresponds with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), which has traditionally been an occasion for joy-filled celebrations in this Archdiocese. Having consulted with the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and taken into consideration both past practice and present circumstances, and having judged that it would serve the common spiritual good, Archbishop Hebda has granted to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as well as any visitors or travelers who may be physically present within the territory of this Archdiocese, a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17, 2017. Those taking advantage of the dispensation, however, are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the Second Week of Lent.

With prayers for a blessed Lent,

Susan Mulheron, JCL  – Chancellor for Canonical Affairs

Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis – 777 Forest Street, Saint Paul MN 55106